Japanese netizens are puzzled by Vietnamese convenience stores using increasingly minor characters from Doraemon for their popular steamed buns.

In Vietnam, like in many other countries in Asia, Doraemon remains an extremely popular character. So much so that more than forty years after its origins in Japan, the series still attracts enough attention to warrant its own series of steamed buns, which are somewhat disturbingly shaped to resemble the faces of characters from the long-running franchise.

Japanese convenience store chain Family Mart’s Vietnamese locations have been doing this for a while apparently, which doesn’t seem so strange in itself given the aforementioned popularity of Doraemon and his ilk.

So who’s the latest character to be honored as part of this humorous campaign? Um, none other than “Nobita’s Teacher,” a marginal figure in the series, at least according to my wife (“he only appears to yell at Nobita because he’s a bad student”). The character is also apparently evocative of bananas, and is thus injected with a cream-like banana filling.

▼”A strict, unnamed teacher at Nobita’s school”–thanks Wikipedia!

Observers in Japan note that this simply marks the latest in a bizarre series of choices for the line of steamed dumplings. Other recent additions to the line-up include family members of more popular characters like Nobita and Gian, who play more or less peripheral roles in the series.

The strangest part is that they haven’t even resorted to this after having run through all the main characters. One of the series’ most popular characters, Nobita’s enduring crush Shizuka, was rendered in bun form after other, much less important characters were bun-ified. For an example perhaps more familiar to American readers, this would be as though they chose to commemorate a character like Maude Flanders before Lisa Simpson.

▼Shizuka was only included in the series after other minor characters.

The choice of “teacher” may seem arbitrary, but it turns out that it’s all timed to coincide with a Vietnamese national holiday that honors educators held on November 20th. You learn something new every day! And what better way could there be to celebrate the contributions of teachers to society than biting into the smirking, cream-filled visage of a mediocre cartoon character?

Sources: Net Lab, FamilyMart Vietnam (Official Facebook Page)
Images: FamilyMart Vietnam (Official Facebook Page)